SAN FRANCISCO, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Kira Kondratkova, a Russian student from San Francisco State University (SFSU), had something to say on Sunday in San Francisco, where she won in a Chinese language contest in the region, together with two other students.
She won first place in the San Francisco regional preliminary contest of the 2018 "Chinese Bridge" Chinese proficiency competition. She said she felt honored to receive the prize at this "big competition."
"It makes me want to become even better at Chinese and develop bridges between our countries," she told Xinhua after the competition held in Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, during which the contestants demonstrated their Chinese language skills, knowledge about Chinese history and culture, and participated in a talent show involving singing and dancing.
Kondratkova is a graduate student on a Fulbright Scholarship teaching English as a foreign language at SFSU. She graduated from her Russian university majoring in teaching mandarin (Chinese) as a foreign language several years ago.
Kondratkova presented a speech entitled "My Friends Circle" about about how she made friends in the United States, Russia and China.
"I think it is very important to have a lot of international friends, especially right now in this world where you know something may not be going well between countries, but friends will always stay friends and we can make this world better together," Kondratkova said.
She recalled her experience over the last five years learning Chinese, during which she spent one year at Tianjin Foreign Languages University and forged enduring friendships.
"I treat my friends as my family, and I want to speak about them because every person who I met in this country has a very special place in my heart," she said in her speech.
The San Francisco regional contest is a qualification race for selecting candidates for the global final of the "Chinese Bridge" Chinese proficiency competition to be held by the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) later this year in China.
Launched in 2002, the competition has become a well-known cultural platform for Chinese learners worldwide.
After winning the San Francisco regional competition, which was attended by 15 high school and university candidates recommended by Confucius Institutes in the northwest region of the United States, Kondratkova will qualify for the global final of the "Chinese Bridge" to be held in China.
Just Like Kondratkova, Nathaniel Beaumon, a Grade-9 student from Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington, was thrilled after he received a spot in the San Francisco regional competition and a chance to go China for the global final.
"I love Chinese and Chinese culture," he said. "Especially Chinese food."